It’s been such a cold winter here in the Northeast that even though Spring is just 3 days away, we are still inclined to bake with warm comfort in mind. This Pear and Pecan loaf is just the right thing to accompany a hot cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBsp unsalted butter, at room temp
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple flavoring (did not have this ingredient; we skipped it and still got excellent results)
2 large eggs
2 firm Bartlett pears, cored and grated (about 2 cups)\3/4 cup finely chopped peacns
Drizzle: 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 TBsp maple syrup, 1 TBsp plus 1/4 tsp water, 1/4 tsp maple flavoring
1. Heat oven to 350F. Line inside of loaf pan with non-stick aluminum foil (or spray regular aluminum with non-stick spray)
3. In large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat brown sugar, maple syrup and maple flavoring until fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in grated pears and 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans. Scrape batter into pan. Sprinkle top with remaining pecans.
4. Bake at 350F until top is browned and toothpick comes out dry, about 1 hour to 1h and 5 minutes. If nuts become too dark, cover pan loosely with foil. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Lift foil with cake inside out of the pan and remove foil. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. If using drizzle (we did not), put cake over sheet of wax paper.
Drizzle: In a small bowl, mix sugar, maple syrup and 1 TBsp water. Divide mixture in half (each a little more than 1/3 cup). Stir maple flavoring into one half, stir 1/4 tsp water into the second half (thin with more water if needed). Transfer the two drizzles into separate small resealable plastic bags. Snip corner off both bags and top loaf with both drizzles. Let dry at least 10 to 15 minutes. Store at room temp in airtight container for up to 1 week.